The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book 1763 – 5

Passavant_edited-1I love snippets from the past. This post about a forthcoming book, The Exeter Cloth Dispatch Book 1763-5 looks fascinating.

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Miniature seascapes and cities in elaborate paper wigs

These paper wigs are just amazing!

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Map samplers

A few years ago, the National Library of Scotland put on an exhibition about maps. As part of that, they published a post about map samplers, which I have only recently found, and I thought I would share.

I also thought I would share my own blackwork map. I traced a map from my school atlas onto graph paper, then used that as a cross stitch chart to work the coasts and county borders in back stitch. Each county has a different blackwork design to fill it. Finding enough designs was the hardest part. It was surprising how often I found a “new” pattern in a book, only to examine what I’d already done and find I had used it already.

As you would expect, the V&A also have some map samplers in their collection, along with plenty of other eye candy. Always worth a look!


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Inspired by the Baldishol

Baldishol_WebBanner.jpegThe Baldishol tapestry is the oldest in Norway, and one of the oldest in Europe. It was found in the 17th century church at Baldishol in Nes, demolished in 1879. It was discovered balled up and covered in clay, under a footrest used by the bellringer. The handy bit of old cloth had been used to stop the draught from the old floor. As you can see, it cleaned up nicely to show part of a calendar. The fragment shows April and May.

This fabulous piece has been used as the theme for an exhibition currently being held at Norway House, Minneapolis. Fortunately, there is a virtual tour, which might well let you get closer to the exhibits than if you were actually there. It is really hard to choose a favourite piece.

But then, it is quite hard to choose a favourite piece of the original.

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Estimating the yarn for a woven scarf

I’m a novice weaver, so I like it when I find a down to earth post about the basics.

This one is going to be very handy when I’m out and see yarn that just needs to be bought. It explains how to estimate what you need to weave a scarf.

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Butterfly quilt

This started when I saw a pattern in a magazine for a bold black and white quilt, with a spalsh of bright colour. After a lot of fabric browsing, I decided I liked the design, but I didn’t want to do it in plain colours. Then I found some William Morris prints that I liked. Half way through the project, I decided that:

  • the result was a bit bland, and
  • the blocks fell into clear groups, not all of which went together.

So I decided to split them into two groups, and make a smaller quilt with one group of blocks on each side.

So I’d got some fabric left over.

So I started to think about a scrappy sampler. I’ve got some other William Morris scraps that I’ve been hoarding for years, so it made sense. First of all, I made a series of blocks with a plain calico background, making sure the edges of the block were jagged, instead of having a solid band of colour round the edge.

Then I saw something online about Dresden butterflies. Now I’ve always liked the Dresden plate  block, but the one I did for my sampler quilt 25 years ago put me off. Far too much faffing.

However, things have changed. Now you can cut the shape from strips with a rotary cutter, fold them in half and sew across the wide end, and you have a series of “self finished” segments for the block in no time at all.

My butterfly bodies took a bit of thought. There are various approaches online, but I wanted to keep it simple. I needed some slightly wider ones, to cover the raw edges that had ended up a little too far apart, because I didn’t measure before I sewed the wings onto the base fabric. And I liked the brown print for the bodies, but I didn’t have very much left.

But I managed to get a body for every butterfly.



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A quick way to make a block of squares

I like scrappy quilts. Small squares are a nice way of showing off lots of prints, but it can be time consuming.

This quick way of jumbling up the prints while quick piecing squares is definately one to remember.

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A needlework accessories to make

As you may have noticed, I like the bits and bobs associated with sewing. Especially if they make things easier to find, or nicer to use.

This looks like a nice design for a needle holder that is just a bit different. It folds up nice and small for carrying it around, but opens up so you can see all your needles at once, so you can select the right one.

You can find the instructions here.

Or perhaps, like me, you keep little tins, in case they come in useful for something?

DIY craft tutorial for how to upcycle a tin, similar to an Altoids Mint box, into a mini travel sewing kit. Ideal make for Christmas, Birthday or Swap gift.You could turn one of them into a sewing kit with a patchwork lid, using the instructions here.

I like this idea, but the need to glue the patchwork on puts me off.

And I’m not sure how the extra thickness on the lid would influence the way the lid shuts. Particularly the way the lid stays shut.

And while we are on the subject of storing your scissors? I like these two designs:

Small-Scissors-Case-Tutorial-at-WeAllSew-1620-x-1080-full-of-notions.jpg (1620×1080)






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Pattern singing in Iran “The Woven Sounds”

I love this video.

I like the fascinating traditional method of working together, and the way that the work just carries on at the side of an ordinary room.

I like the way the stock of wools hanging behind them, and the deft use of knives.stock hanging behind them, deft use of the knives.

Then, of course, just look at the colours and the graph paper patterns.

Wonderful stuff!

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Veils: the new norm?

In these interesting times, when many of us are sewing face masks, here is a reminder that we have worn face coverings before, as a fashion item.

One of my favourite museums, the Shetland Museum, has posted this article about veils, with some lovely examples from their archive.

Perhaps next year I’ll make it to Shetland Wool Week.

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